The rise and rise of the webinar

Believe it or not, webinars are said to date back to an era of perms, spandex, legwarmers, Neighbours and Rick Astley. Of course, I am talking about the late 1980s and a time when the internet was still in its infancy – which in itself is still hard to imagine.

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Matthew Cumber | Countrywide Surveying Services
29th December 2021
Matthew Cumber Countrywide
"In 2022, our webinar series has certainly helped us establish clearer lines of communication with a variety of brokers, surveyors and property professionals."

Despite the rapid rise in prominence of the internet, it took until 1996 for the first public web conferences to be available through Microsoft’s launch of NetMeeting. Then, in 1999, WebEx Meeting Center was developed, which we now know as Webex. Since this time, we have seen a plethora of video conferencing platforms come and go as this medium was quietly utilised by many firms.

From a Countrywide perspective, this has always been a great tool to inform, educate and stay connected with our field-based workforce (many of whom are used to working remotely), strategic partners and customers. However, the pandemic generated a new audience and necessity for interactive online engagement and this is something that we, as an industry and as a business, had to embrace and evolve accordingly.

In 2022, our webinar series has certainly helped us establish clearer lines of communication with a variety of brokers, surveyors and property professionals. It has also generated some healthy debate around subjects which are impacting the industry and our interactive polls within these sessions spawned some interesting results along the way.

Picking out some of the headlines:

March - only 1% of industry professionals have the utmost faith in the government - north and south of the border - to resolve the cladding issue within the next two years.

May - over half (55%) of property professionals believe that the RICS Guidance Note is working, with 45% suggesting that this is not the case.
July – more than two-thirds of property professionals (71%) said valuers should reflect the EPC rating in value depending on a property’s EPC rating. In contrast 29% thought that they should not.

October - 94% of brokers have yet to ‘sell’ a green mortgage product but almost four in 10 lenders (39%) suggested that they will have a green mortgage offering in place by the end of 2021. In addition, 92% of surveyors in the audience reported that they are still yet to value a property with an EPC rating of A.

And the latest webinar highlighted that four out of five consumers still confuse a mortgage valuation with a survey. When asked the question – is the mortgage valuation still thought of as a survey? An overwhelming 80% of respondents believed this to be the case, with only 20% disagreeing with the statement.

As one of the largest surveying firms in the UK, I believe we have a duty to lead from the front to inform and help shape the market. I hope we have achieved this in 2021 and this is a path we will continue to take in 2022 as we focus on the topics that matter when it comes to the surveying sector and wider mortgage market. And I hope that even more of you will join us on this journey over the course of the next 12 months.

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